Saturday, April 29, 2006

Y13: Aimie- your first complete draft, marked. Please note particularly the comments at the end and remember I need you final draft by the 9th. I'll bring a hard copy to school next week.


Pat Barker’s novel Regeneration PUT REGENERATION IN ITALICS THROUGHOUT is set in the PSYCHIATRIC war hospital, Craiglockhart just outside of Edinburgh. Barker uses fictional and fictionalised characters throughout Regeneration with one of the main characters being W.H.S Rivers, one of the hospital’s doctors. WHY MENTION RIVERS PARTICULARLY, RATHER THAN SASSOON- THE OTHER CANDIDATE FOR THE TITLE OF CENTRAL CHARACTER. Be they fictional or fictionalised, Barker uses her characters to allow the reader an insight into the psychological consequences of The Great War on a variety of soldiers and civilians. She does this by favouring the first person voice YOU NEED TO REPHRASE THIS- THE NOVEL IS IN THE THIRD PERSON AFTER ALL, IT’S JUST THAT THE USE OF FREE INDIRECT STYLE ALLOWS BARKER TO ALSO EXLPLOIT MANY OF THE ADVANTAGES OF FIRST PERSON PERSEPECTIVE, ESPECIALLY PSYCHOLOGICAL TRANSPARENCY which allows the reader to understand a particular character’s feelings, views and opinions on the war, and therefore the consequences of it. She skilfully balances this with a presentation of the social consequences of The Great War, which she reflects through the third person perspective which is the default narrative viewpoint of the novel. We see the social consequences through civilians on the home front, as well as from soldiers and doctors at Craiglockhart.
Barker takes a fresh new approach to writing a war novel in this sense as she doesn’t focus on the battlefield itself, like so many war novel authors choose to do. She wanted to explore her techniques as a writer and break away from her typical style – writing about working-class northern women. As Barker has so many vivid characters her choice to narrate in the third person is a wise one. She makes Regeneration a polyphonic novel through the use of free indirect style which allows her to have more then one voice and to drop into all her characters heads, making them psychologically transparent. THIS IS BETTER, BUT YOU’RE REALLY GOING OVER THE SAME GROUND AS YOU DO ABOVE- UNIFY THE TWO SETS OF COMMENTS, IT WILL SAVE ON WORDCOUNT TOO This gives the novel more depth and movement, as Barker is not restricting her novel to one perspective.

Regeneration was written as a demonstration to Barker’s critics that she could write about men in a male environment as it was something she had never done before YOU NEED TO MENTION HERE THAT SHE ARGUALBLY MAINTAINS A MORE ‘FEMALE’ PERSPECTIVE BY INCORPORATING THE EXPERIENCE OF CIVILIAN WOMEN AS WELL AS MILITARY MEN. She also wanted to take a different approach to a war novel by focusing on the consequences of the battlefield, not the battlefield itself.
In contrast with Barker’s historical perspective, writing as she did with a modern sensibility about the war and almost 80 years after the event took place, Siegfried Sassoon was writing contemporaneously with The Great War. As A FICTIONALIZED VERSION OF SASSOON is one of Barker’s main characters, she has featured some of his poetry in Regeneration and SHE OPENS HER NOVEL WITH the Declaration he wrote which lead to his ADMISSION TO Craiglockhart. There are a many contrasts between Barker and Sassoon with the main one being that Barker wrote a novel and Sassoon wrote a collection of poetry. This leads to a vast difference in style and purpose AND NARRATIVE VOICE. Sassoon’s poetry tends to be very brief and powerful getting his point across firmly in an emotive manner. He presents his poetry with a single voice, choosing his language carefully due to the BREVITY of his writing and the need of an instant reaction. The purpose of Sassoon’s poetry was to make a political point as he became strongly apposed to the war. He also wanted to show civilians back at home what the war was really like for the soldiers involved. He wanted to show that it was bloody and ruthless and that many young men died needlessly. His Declaration is A SUMMATION OF THIS INTENTION and in some ways is the starting point for BOTH Sassoon’s voice as a soldier-POET and Barker’s ORCHESTRATION of many voices.

SASSOON’S poetry is emotive as he is writing from first hand experience at the time it was happening, unlike Barker whose text is the product of research and literary imagination. Where Sassoon’s poetry IS mostly directed through a single voice, Barker writes in a more discursive manner due to the polyphonic style of the novel. This is also achievable because she is writing a novel so has more time to explore different ideas. GOOD DISCUSSION, BUT AGAIN YOU REPEAT A LOT OF SIMILAR IDEAS- HAVE A GO AT CUTTING THIS DOWN.
GOOD STUFF SO FAR AIMIE BUT IT BOTHERS ME THAT YOU HAVE GOT THIS FAR WITHOUT A QUOTATION- ILLUSTRATE F.I.S WITH A QUOTE OR TWO, SASSOON’S STYLE WITH A QUOTE OR TWO, THE DECLARATION WITH A QUOTE OR TWO.
It is vital FOR THE SUCCESS OF Barker’S NOVEL THAT SHE allows her characters to speak for themselves without smothering them with her own opinionS. However the absenCE of Barker’s voice is not complete from the novel. Through free indirect style Barker manages to perform a narrative trick by telling us what she wants the reader to think about a character “Small blue eyes, nibbled gingery moustache” tells us what Anderson looks like and that the war may have made him a nervous man from the description of his moustache, and “Mr Prior looked him shrewdly up and down” informs the reader that Mr Prior may be a crafty man. NOTE ALSO ‘MR PRIOR’, NOT SIMPLE PRIOR OR BILLY.

Another way in which Barker’s voice can be heard throughout the novel is by the amount of narrative space she gives each character. Barker clearly believes that neurasthenia does exist therefore gives more narrative space to characters who share her opinion, like Rivers. Free indirect style not only allows us to see what the character with the narrative DUTIES sees, it also allows us TO hear a characters’ thought process. “After all, why not?” shows us Sassoon thinking things over in his head and justifying his response. YOU NEED TO EXTEND AND CONTEXTUALIZE THIS QUOTE-DOESN’T MAKE A LOT OF SENSE ON ITS OWN. This can only be done through this narrative technique and allows Barker to show the reader a very personal side to each character. Burns, a PATIENT at Craiglockhart, was thrown by an explosion face first into a rotting corpse. When Rivers is talking to him about upsetting other people and Burns mentions that he wouldn’t have to worry about upsetting anyone if he could eat in his own room, Barker writes from Rivers’ perspective “Yes, Burns would worry about upsetting other people”. This tells us that Rivers is disagreeing in his head with what Burns has just said. We know he hasn’t said it out loud as there are no speech marks and Burns doesn’t enforce his own comment. River’s thought also tells us something about Burns. It shows us that Burns is a generally nice guy as he worries about his actions upsetting others. THIS IS ALL OKAY BUT A LITTLE WEAK IN EXPRESSION- ESPECIALLY ‘GENERALLY A NICE GUY’ This idea is reinforced when we see through free indirect style that Rivers is thinking to himself “He’s agreeing to make me feel useful, he thought”. “he thought” YOU’RE CONFUSED HERE- THE VERY FACT THAT BARKER USES ‘HE THOUGHT’ MEANS THIS IS NOT F.I.S- THE WHOLE POINT OF F.I.S IS THAT IT IS INDIRECT- ‘HE THOUGHT’ MAKES IT DIRECT- A DIRECT TRANSCRITION OF THE CHARACTER’S THOUGHTS EMBEDDED IN THE NARRATIVE, AS OPPOSED TO THE STYLE OF THE CHARACTER INFLUENCING THE STYLE AND VIEWPOINT OF THE NARRATIVE ITSELF. is the key part of the sentence as it gives the reader the knowledge that it was a look inside his head at his thoughts, not just third person narration. Burn’s worries about upsetting other people demonstrate some of the social consequences of the war. When Burns tries to eat he is violently sick due to his experience. This means he can no longer eat in public due to his embarrassment but not just that, he will affect everyone around him as well. Prior’s experiences lead to him being psychologically affected by the war as we see through his hypnosis. His hypnosis can by closely linked to Sassoon’s ‘Counter- Attack’ as it is based on memories of an event. The hypnosis, through free indirect style, tells us about the specific point that leads him to Craiglockhart as we see it through his eyes. He woke up to the smell of “stale farts”: his own TYPICALLY RAW interpretation of the smell of the trenches. YOU NEED A LOT MORE ANALYSIS OF HOW THIS EPISODE SHOWS PRIOR’S PERSONALITY Rivers is allowing him to remember what happened by taking him back to the trenches in France. As Prior became mute he wanted to find out the cause of it. Another advantage of free indirect style is that it allows there to be a change of time, setting or character without having to explain to the reader what is happening. We can see this before Prior’s hypnosis begins as he is talking to Rivers and then is back in France.

Barker shows a change in time, setting or character by beginning a new paragraph, making it clear a change has happened. What Barker wanted to depict with Prior was that he was from a working class background but was an officer, a title USUALLY ASSOCIATED WITH A well educated middle class man. Many of the soldiers would have suffered from mutism because if they were to say something negative about the war’s cause or reasons for fighting, the consequences would have been catastrophic, plus no one would have listened. However, officers tended to stutter or stammer due to the psychological effects of the war, like Rivers’ increasing stutter, “That’s d-different” and Sassoon’s stammer, “or or otherwise” which is a complete contrast to his poetry, where he writes in a clear manner with complete fluidity. NOT SURE WHAT YOU’RE DOING WITH THIS- NOBODY WRITES WITH A STAMMER. THERE MAY BE A POINT HERE ABOUT THE THERAPEUTIC NATURE OF THE POETRY THOUGH- THE VOICE SASSOON GIVES TO HIS EMOTIONS IN CONTRAST WITH THE MUTISM THAT INCREASES PRIOR’S TRAUMA STIL FURTHER This was because an officer was more likely to be listened to. It is almost as if the soldier’s subconscious is preventing them from speaking to save a disciplinary ACTION. As Prior is from a working class background and has been looked down on by other officers and even Rivers at first, he is showing the psychological effects of the war of a soldier not an officer.

Here it is possible to hear Barker’s opinion and voice coming through again as she can relate to Prior as they were both working class. It also feels like Barker is having a go at society at the time of The Great War for still having prejudices about social class at a time when everyone was in the same position, they were at war as one. Barker portrays Prior’s mutism by making him write down what he wants to say. Rivers observES Prior, waiting for him to answer his question ON WHEN HE FIRST LOST HIS ABILITY TO SPEAK Prior replies to him by writing “I DON’T REMEMBER.”. Not only is Prior mute but he is also angry, maybe at not knowing why he is mute, maybe for being in hospital when he wants to be back at the front or maybe because people like Sister Rogers have taken a PATRONISING ATTITUDE to him and he feels Rivers might as well. We know he is angry as he writes in block capitals so it appears he is shouting. YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS MORE EXPLICITYLY LINKED WITH THE IDEA OF SOCIAL VOICES IN THE NARRATIVE- DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE WAY PRIOR AND SARAH SPEAK AT ONE END AND SASSON AND ALANGDON AT THE OTHER AND HOW OTHER CHARACTERS RESPOND TO THEM BECAUSE OF IT. I’D PUT THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH, WHICH DOES THIS BETTER, BEOFRE THE BIT ABOUT PRIOR TO ANNOUNCE WHAT YOU’RE DOINGAnother area that Barker looks at is the social voices of characters and the language they use. THAT’S WHAT YOU’VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT FOR THE LAST COUPLE OF PARAGRAPHS The majority of the characters in Regeneration are officers therefore are well spoken. We know this as Barker writes in well-spoken tone to reflect her characters. However characters like Billy Prior and Sarah Lumb are from working backgrounds, so Barker reflects this by the language she uses. When Prior is around Sarah, a northern girl, his roots come out and he starts to relax the manner in which he talks. “I always paddle with me boots on” shows that he has dropped the “my” for a “me” making a grammatically INcorrect sentence. Also the fact that Prior is using a metaphor to talk about contraception helps emphasisE his social class.HOW’S THAT THEN? WOULD A M/CLASS MAN BE MORE LIKELY TO SAY ‘I ALWAYS WEAR A CONDOM’ ? Sarah however understands his metaphor. It is possible to see River’s snobbery emerge when Prior’s voice returns. We hear through free indirect style that “hearing Prior’s voice for the first time had the curious effect of making him look different” to River’s. In the real world Rivers would never have to associate with men like Prior as they are from different words, yet Prior is from a working class background and the same rank as Sassoon, something River’s was not aware of.

Similarly, the reader encountetrs Sarah’s voice and accent through her speech, “Aye, and they can stop there ‘n’ all”. Ada Lumb tries to correct Sarah’s grammar, “You don’t say “what”, Sarah. You say “pardon””, but then she mispronounces “gunna”, “gotta” and “mebbe”. She is aware that it more socially acceptable to be well spoken and wants Sarah to be socially accepted. GOOD CLOSE ANALYSIS HERE. Ada may feel that Sarah and herself can hide the fact they are working class by speaking in a more educated manner, as when she speaks to strangers she “switches to her genteel voice”, trying to sound refined and courteous. Barker uses phonetic misspelling and dialect to show the social effects of the war on all members of society, not just the soldier as is by and large the case with war novels. It also brings a contrast between the different characters of the novel, Prior’s Manchester and Sarah’s northern accent juxtapose Rivers’ and Sassoon’s educated dialect. Sassoon, in his poetry, also adds voices making his officer characters possess a “stiff upper lip” euphemistic language. GOOD PASSAGE, THIS
Throughout his poetry, Sassoon tends to narrate in his own voice, LINK THIS TO THE PREVIOUS BIT BY TALKING ABOUT THE WAY SASSOON UNDERCUTS THE EUPEMISTIC LANGUAGE OF THE OFFICERS WITH HIS RAW, DETAILED, UNFLINCHING, BRUTAL VOICE however THERE ARE SIGNS OF WHAT TS ELIOT CALLS THE THREE VOICES OF POETRY IN HIS WORK (YOU MAY AS WELL NAME THE CRITIC AND GET THE AO4 POINT IN AS WELL!); the lyric voice, the epic voice and the dramatic voice. The majority of Sassoon’s writing is written with an epic voice as he is trying to drum up sympathy for the soldiers fighting and loosing their lives. In ‘Repression of War Experiences’ PUT TITLES OF POEMS INTO QUOTATION MARKS THROUGHOUT Sassoon writes in an epic voice, saying that the cause of neurasthenia is mainly down to repressing memories of the war. “And it’s been proven that soldiers don’t go mad unless they lose control of ugly thoughts that drive them out to jabber among the trees”. QUOTE POETRY LINE-FOR-LINE. Sassoon, through writing his poetry, has not repressed his feelings on the war and has managed to help himself by writing out his dark memories. However this extract from Repression of War Experiences tells the reader that there are plenty of men who have tried to bury their experiences with the hope that the memories would go away. This leads them to have severe mental breakdowns leading to irrational behaviour. We see in Regeneration that Burns, one of Barker’s fictional characters, has an episode in the woods. “He stood again in front of the tree” is Burn’s memories and experiences leading him to do exactly what Sassoon wrote about in Repression of War Experiences. The chances that Barker took this event of Burn’s from this poem of Sassoon’s are almost definite as he is a reflection of what Sassoon describes. Even though Sassoon showed “no obvious signs of nervous disorder” according to Rivers, we see from Repression of War Experiences that he hears guns being fired and shells going off, “you can hear the guns…I’m going crazy”. Sassoon’s poetry works in the same way as Rivers hypnosis and encouragement to remember war experiences.

‘Counter-Attack’ is based on Sassoon’s memories or events that he is sure would have happened, as it was first drafted in the trenches. This poem contains an epic voice again with evidence of a satire and political voice also. “An officer came blundering down the trench…”Fire-step…counter-attack!”” has the clear-cut image of no strong authority in the trenches. Sassoon uses the elision to show the panic in the officer’s voice and his clear lack of leadership skills. Sassoon is using this officer to make the point that many platoons are lead by men who are not capable of leading. The soldiers “sank and drowned, bleeding to death” like so many of the young men fighting in the war. This is why Sassoon tells River “I’m going back” because we wants his men to have a fighting chance. This poem can also be linked with Prior’s hypnosis as they are both written as memories.

SOME GOOD POINTS OF COMAPRISON AND CONTRAST HERE Barker’s free indirect style allows us to see into Prior’s past, where similarly Sassoon uses free indirect style to allow us to see the perspectives of different people in the trench. Sassoon, like Barker doesn’t completely focus his poetry on the battlefield itself. He tries to show the consequences of the war for soldiers who are no longer at war with the enemy, but are still fighting with their war demons, having to live with the mental and physical scars and memories. In Does it Matter, Sassoon demonstrates this point well. He writes with an angry voice which projects through the irony throughout the poem. “Does it matter? – losing your sight? There’s such splendid work for the blind” demonstrates his irony. He is reflecting this poem on societies attitudes towards war victims pointing out that society will see that a soldier is still alive and expect him to be grateful and get on with it. Sassoon tries to point out that a soldier losing his eyes doesn’t affect his sight as he can still see all the terrible things that took place in the trenches. The structure of Does it Matter? is very different FROM that of Counter-Attack as it is a short, powerful poem that is made punchy by the use of grammar. Each line forms a unit of sense as there is a natural pause at the end, adding emphasis to the last word. This makes the poem sound hard and gives it a clear rhythm which helps stress the point of the poem. Also Sassoon’s use of punctuation, mainly the placement of elision, causes pauses and allows the reader to ponder what he has just said, “losing your leg?...”, “losing your sight?...”. GOOD DETAILED ANALYSIS In Regeneration we can see Sarah shares the frustration that Sassoon does. We know through Barker’s use of free indirect style that she gives Sarah the opinion of “if the country demand the price, then it should bloody well be prepared to look at the result” when she stumbles across a hidden ward at the hospital full of physically mutated men. Glory of Women looks at similar ideas as Does it Matter? As it explores men’s fears that women don’t want to know about what actually went on in the trenches, they want to think of their men as “heroes”. Sassoon writes this in an angry voice using only one voice through the poem. He believes that women only want to look at wounds “in a mentionable place” because they don’t want a handicapped man. Barker however takes a more sympathetic approach making Sarah feel that “Simply by being there…, a pretty girl, she had made everything worse.” Letter to Robert Graves is what THE TITLE IMPLIES, : it is a lyrical poem using Sassoon’s person voice, therefore his personal experiences, throughout. It is a therapeutic poem as he tells Graves about his experiences in the trenches. “I timed my death in action to the minute”, shows how unhappy Sassoon was in the battlefield. He depicts his state of mind when he was in a hospital by showing how he had no sense of time, “MarshMoonStreetMeiklejohnArdoursandenduranSitwellitis” as everyone who visited him merged into one. However Sassoon writing poetry has helped him through his war dilemmas, as did Burn’s episode in the woods. Yet more evidence of free indirect style can by seen in Regeneration when Barker writes “now they could dissolve into the earth as they were meant to do” THIS IS CLEARLY BURNS’ VICE IN FREE INDIRECT STYLE, RATHER THAN A COMMENT BY BARKER AS THE NARRATOR when Burns puts all the dead animals on the ground. It is therapeutic as he feels as if he is giving his fellow soldiers the dignity of being allowed to dissolve into the ground, like the animals, and rest peacefully.
The General is a polyphonic poem ARGUALBLY- YOU NEED TO MAKE THE POINT THAT THE VOICES ARE NOHWERE NEAR AS THREE-DIMENSIONAL AND FULLY REALISED AS THEY ARE IN THE NOVEL as Sassoon includes the General’s voice, Harry’s voice – a soldier – and his own voice. It is an epic poem making a political statement. Sassoon is protesting on behalf of all the dead soldier, Harry and Jack, who died by the “General’s” “plan of attack”. This poem is similar to Counter-Attack as we hear Sassoon’s voice in the poem as an angry protest against the way Generals were leading their men. Through Barker’s research for Regeneration she would have become aware of Sassoon’s views on the generals at the war front and subsequently lets the reader know this by allowing Sassoon to say “they don’t give a damn about the “Bobbies” and the “Tommies””. Both Sassoon and Barker base their writing around the time of The First World War – 1917 – and both portray the effects it had on a different level then other war poets and war novelists. They both independently include the use of imaginary voices in their work through free indirect style allowing for many view points to be considered thus making their work polyphonic. Although MUCH of Sassoon’s poems contain only one narrative voice, he has the ability to change the tone giving his poems different meanings and addressing different members of society. Barker sets her novel in one location being Craiglockhart, with the exception of flash backs. Regeneration is, according to Jackie Wullschlager, “caged in a distinct time and place” thus weakening the novel. However, it could be said that the purpose of Craiglockhart being the main location, and the lack of description Barker provides for it, are necessary to portray the intensity of each character’s war neurosis. It is as if Barker mimics their memories of the war, which are locked in one place - each mans head - by only giving the characters one place to go, hence allowing her the opportunity to let these memories boil inside each man then explode INTERESTING IDEA THAT YOU EED TO TAKE FURTHER- CRAIGLOCKHART AS AN ORCCHESTRA OF MANY VOICES, SASSOON’S POETRY AS MANY ASPECTS OF A SINGLE VOICE.

THIS IS NEARLY 4,000 WORDS WITH MY COMMENTS INCLUDED, BUT I’VE GIVEN YOU SOME IDEAS OF WHERE TO CUT IT DOWN AND IMPROVE IT. BASICALLY, WHAT YOU NEED IS BETTER AO4- TO QUOTE FROM THE MARK SCHEME ‘CLEAR CONSIDERATION OF DIFFFERENT INTERPRETATIONS OF TEXTS WITH AN EVAKUATION OF THEIR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES AND CLEAR EVIDENCE OF PERSONAL RESPONSE WITH TEXTUAL SUPPORT’. FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU PHRASE YOUR DISCUSSION DIFFERENTLY, YOU CAN DO THIS THROUGH YOUR POINTS ABOUT BARKER’S VOICE NOT BEING SILENT- ONE INTERPRETATION IS THAT THE NOVEL IS POLYPHONIC AND THE CHARACTERS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES, ANOTHER IS THAT BARKER NEVER DOES MORE THAN A VENRILOQUIST ACT- ALL THE CHARACTERS ARE ASPECTS OF HER AND NONE OF THEM SAY ANYTHING SHE WOULD FIND DISTASTEFUL. LINK THIS WITH SASSOON’S POETRY- HE IS MUCH MORE HNEST ABOUT HAVING A SINGLE, PROTESTING VOICE- HIS OWN- AND YET THE DIFERENCE BETWEEN THE PUBLISHED POEMS AND ‘LETTER TO RG’ SHOWS HIS PUBLIC VOICE IS MUCH MORE OF AN ARTISTRIC CONSTRUCT THAN MOST READERS ASSUME- OR IS IT? THIS IS THE SORT OF THING YOU NEED TO TO TO GET AN A OR B. BEST OF LUCK!

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home